Lake Pepin, the largest lake on the Mississippi River and just over an hour drive from Minneapolis, is the perfect destination for a Minnesota road trip. This route takes you along the Great River Road, a National Scenic Byway, that follows the mighty Mississpi river and is famous for its natural beauty. There’s plenty of charming small towns to explore along the way, as well as amazing river views.
Stay safe on the road
Responsible driving is, of course, essential for keeping yourself safe on the road during your trip. So, it’s important to get a good night’s sleep the night before, and take regular breaks throughout the drive (drowsy driving, similar to drunk driving, is responsible for an average of 91,000 car crashes every year). It’s also useful to familiarize yourself with the state’s road laws. St. Paul and Minneaspolis have speed limits of 25mph in most streets, and drivers lose right of way if they drive at higher speeds than those signposted. If you do get into a road accident, it’s important to take steps to protect your legal rights. A reputable personal injury attorney can help you file a lawsuit to recover rightful compensation, Janet, Janet and Suggs advises.
Begin in the Twin Cities
You’ll start your road trip in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul — the largest metropolitan area along the Mississippi River. Check out the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, a beautiful 72-mile national park nestled in the heart of the city. The Upper St. Anthony Falls visit center, in particular, provides panoramic views of St. Anthony Falls and the surrounding mill district — you’ll even see bald eagles soaring overhead. When you’re ready to hit the road, drive south to Hastings, a small historic town with plenty of unique boutique shops along 2nd Street. Vermillion Falls, an amazing 35-foot tall waterfall, is also located right in the middle of the town.
Hastings to Red Wing and Lake Pepin
From Hastings, head south to Red Wing, another fascinating historic town with plenty to see and do. For example, pay a visit to the Marine Museum to learn about the history of motor and boat building in the area, as well as see the impressive American Queen, the largest river steamboat, docked nearby. Lake Pepin is then only under half an hour away. Frontenac State Park, on the northern end of the lake, is a must visit for spectacular views, as well as plenty of hiking, biking, and birding opportunities. And, if it’s late summer or fall, stop by Pepin Heights Orchard and sample their delicious Honeycrisp apples.
From Lake Pepin, you can then drive down the river road to Wabasha — home to the National Eagle Center where you can learn about native Bald Eagles — and cross the river to Nelson. You can take the river road on the opposite side of the Mississippi river to make your return drive home — it’s just as equally scenic and memorable.